I am sure you have heard the ubiquitous phrase ‘You never get a second chance to make a first impression’. It’s used so often that it has become a bit of a cliché. We hear it. We nod and say ‘yes how true’ yet we forget to check what sort of an impression we are giving in those all important first 20 seconds. Even before you have said a word your fate in a sale could be sealed by some small detail.

An interesting show on TV called “Style by Jury” confirms strongly just how powerful first impressions are. Not my normal TV viewing but I have to say it was fascinating!

Here they had a woman visible to an audience through a two way mirror. She had no idea who was looking at her or what they were saying. The sort of comments that came from there jury were:

“Oh my god”
“do people walk around like that?”
“what is on her head”
“looks like a cat”
“she looks homeless to me”
“looks like people donated clothing to her”
“I don’t think she is very happy”
“she looks sad”

The amusing thing is that the woman is a fashion designer, the jury are shocked, her appearance is telling a totally different story to what the fashion designer had anticipated.

The fashion designer gets a makeover and afterwards the responses are:

“she reminds me of Sharon Stone”
“lovely smile”
“confident”
“friend of the public eye”

It does not matter who you are, People make judgements about your abilities based on things as subtle as the way you dress, the content of your nails, or whether you arrive early or late. If you want people to take you seriously or if you want people to relate to you it’s important to dress appropriately and to be on top of your game. People buy you before they buy your products and services.

I have found getting feedback from an independent image consultant money well spent. You need someone not only to tell you what is not right but how to put it right. Sometimes friends and colleagues are a bit too polite or they are giving you THEIR opinion. What you want is the impression you make on your target audience or people who you are counting on to give you referrals. Think of it as an investment and an insurance policy rolled into one!